NBA’s Most Wanted: Top 30 summer targets via trade, free agency or the NBA Draft

Let’s say this summer, your team could acquire any player in the draft, free agency (for market value), or trade (for projected market value). Imagine there is a white board of all players teams could hope to acquire. They could trade for the No.1 pick or Paul George or sign Gordon Hayward or any player available through free agency, the draft or via trade. Who do you go after? Here’s a ranking of those players, factoring all factors, from skillset, to contract, to timing, to potential, to cost. 

1. Paul George | SF | Indiana Pacers

George is a bona fide superstar and by all accounts is available for talks with the Pacers. Larry Bird’s departure only increased rumors the Pacers know they’ll lose him next summer in free agency and have to pursue a deal. That factor, having to trade to acquire George with no way to be 100 percent sure he’ll re-sign certainly makes it tough to decide between him and presumptive No. 1 draft choice Markelle Fultz, but George is the kind of player you simply do not turn down. 

George is 27, an All-Star who defends at a high level, can score and can be effective off-ball as well. This sets him apart from the rest of this list; you can plug him into any system. Run an iso-heavy offense? He can carry a team. How about a high-ball-movement motion offense where he needs to catch and shoot? He can do that, too. 

He’s a fierce competitor and comfortable being the face of a franchise. The guy broke his leg in horrifying fashion and yet it’s fair to say he has no injury issues (played 75 games this past season). He’s in his prime for at least another five years, and doesn’t need specific personnel around him to be successful. 

The Celtics don’t need to, or have to trade the No.1 overall pick for George (also could trade other assets, or try and sign him next summer). But if they did, no one would see it as a bad deal. If the Pacers were to deal him for…

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